Brightline, South Florida’s first privately-funded passenger rail service, is expanding its outreach efforts to raise awareness about rail safety.
The rail company is continuing to partner with local law enforcement and cities and counties along the corridor.
“Increasing awareness about rail safety is of critical importance, which is why we continue working with our transportation partners to help spread the word,” said Patrick Goddard, Brightline’s COO and president. “For the past year, we have been engaged in the communities along the corridor, and we will continue these outreach efforts. We implore the public to be patient and not circumvent the safety devices in place to keep you safe. Your life is worth more than waiting a few extra seconds for a train to pass.”
As part of its expanded outreach plan begun in early 2017, Brightline will continue working with Operation Lifesaver to create an additional PSA campaign, including materials in English, Spanish and Creole; installing additional signage that warns motorists and pedestrians to stay off the tracks at grade crossings along the corridor; activating safety ambassadors, and attending community events and passing out rail safety information along the corridor.
For the past year, Brightline has partnered with Operation Lifesaver, developing a rail safety campaign and volunteering at community events. Brightline is committed to equipping the general public with the knowledge necessary to stay safe around not just Brightline tracks, but all other tracks and highway-rail grade crossings located throughout the country. Approximately 40 Brightline employees are trained Operation Lifesaver volunteers and attend community events to teach their neighbors how and why it’s important to stay safe.
Prior to Brightline beginning operations and during the start of service, the company ran PSAs on radio and broadcast outlets in South Florida markets to ensure the general public is aware of the laws in place to keep them safe, like waiting for the gate arms to return to the upright position before traversing through the grade crossing after the train passes.
All public at-grade railroad crossings along the FEC Railway corridor in Brightline’s operating route have comprehensive safety infrastructure in place, including gates, constant warning time (predictor systems), bells, flashing red lights and signage.
When comparing motor vehicle deaths to train deaths, the statistics are staggering. According to the National Safety Council, less than two percent of all transportation fatalities in 2016 were by train, with as many as 40,000 motor vehicle deaths occurring that year. A total of 771 railroad incident deaths were reported in 2015. According to Operation Lifesaver, 95 percent of all rail-related deaths involve drivers going through a crossing or a person on the tracks.
Making the right decisions near railroad tracks can truly be the difference between life and death, today, and every day. Brightline is committed to educating the public on general train safety and encourages everyone to review Operation Lifesaver’s top five rail safety tips below:
• Look and listen for a train as you approach all railroad crossings. Obey all signs, warning lights and gates.
• Trains are quieter and faster than you think. Never try to beat a train.
• Because of their size and weight, it can take a mile or more to stop a train.
• Always expect a train on any track; avoid distractions when you approach a crossing.
• Railroad property is private property. Walking on the tracks is illegal and dangerous.
For more information about Brightline, visit the website at www.gobrightline.com.